Square Enix has kept us hanging for years ever since it announced a project to remake fan-favorite Final Fantasy 7. Since that reveal, we've only been teased with quick glimpses of remade cutscenes and new gameplay, the most substantial showcasing of which is the recent trailer (seen above) revealed during Sony's May 9 State of Play stream. At the end of that trailer, the words "more to come in June" appeared onscreen. Is Final Fantasy 7 confirmed to be at E3? Not yet, but the strong suggestion that it will make an appearance during Square Enix's E3 broadcast is hard to ignore.
[Update: The Square Enix stream is going on right now, revealing gameplay and combat, as well as the fact that the game will span two Blu-ray discs. This follows the news that a release date has been set for 2020.]
Assuming that Final Fantasy 7 will be featured during that livestream and that it might also be on the show floor, we've put our heads together and come up with a list of topics and details we hope to learn more about. But before diving into that, let's revisit what we already know about the highly anticipated remake.
What We Know So Far
Broadly speaking, we know that the remake will be a complete overhaul of the 1997 game. It's being recreated from the ground up to tell roughly the same story, featuring the same locations and characters, but it will be presented in a modern fashion, as a third-person game with a free roaming camera and real-time combat, similar to Final Fantasy 15.
The trailers released thus far primarily focused on Midgar, the city run by the nefarious power company, Shinra Corporation. With the recent trailer taken into account, we've now seen familiar sights like the slums, the subway system, and the inside of the reactors that line the edge of the city.
Needless to say, the modern look of the Final Fantasy 7 remake looks a lot different than the 1997 original. Every environment and character has been recreated to modern standards, which in the years prior to the remake's announcement was cited by developers as a task too hard to accomplish given the scale of the game. This is likely the reason why the remake in progress will come in multiple episodes--the number of which is still a closely guarded secret--rather than as one big release.
Lastly, we know many of the lead creatives behind the remake, and their names will look familiar to fans of the original, and Final Fantasy at large. Yoshinori Kitase, the director and co-writer of the original Final Fantasy 7, will sit in the producer's chair this time around, leaving the directorial duties split between series veterans Naoki Hamaguchi and Tetsuya Nomura. Nomura will also lead the art and design teams. Kitase's former writing partner Kazushige Nojima is back to pen the story once more, and last but not least, Final Fantasy's legendary maestro Nobuo Uematsu is reprising his role as the composer for the remake's new soundtrack.
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What's Confirmed For E3?
Nothing! All we can say for certain is that Final Fantasy 7 fans can try to attend a concert before the convention in LA on Sunday, June 9. We also know that something will be said during the month of June and that Square Enix will have a broadcast filled with announcements during the show, but there's been no confirmation that the June tease and the E3 presentation are connected. If they aren't, we'll be as shocked as you.
What We Hope To See At E3
Given that Midgar has been the focal point of every trailer shown so far, it would be great to see a bit more of the world beyond the city. Final Fantasy 7's massive world map is (or at least was) home to a wide variety of natural environments and locales like towns and villages, all of which were important pieces of the overall experience and identity of the world, and which yet remain a mystery so far as the remake is concerned.
There are also numerous characters that have yet to make an appearance, so fingers crossed that we get to see the likes of Cait Sith and Vincent, and maybe even the ghastly remains of Jenova. More than just see what they look like, it would also be nice to get a sense of what they will sound like, especially given the divided opinions on Barrett's voice after the most recent trailer.
Square Enix would also do well to dive into combat a bit more, to explain how the skill-giving Materia will work and how their behaviors may have changed following the shift from turn-based to real-time combat. You also can't talk about Final Fantasy 7's combat without mentioning summons, the show-stopping and combat-halting spells that call forth punishing mythical beasts and spirits to pummel your enemies. Perhaps we can look to Final Fantasy 15 to imagine how these might work, but it would be better if Square Enix could just show us during E3 to dispel rumors and speculation altogether.
While there are a ton of questions to be answered when it comes to gameplay and the translation of old mechanics into modern systems, most people just want to know one thing: when will Final Fantasy 7 Remake be released? Second to that: how many episodes are Square Enix planning to make?
Truth be told, if all we got was a release date, I feel like most people would be satisfied. After all, Final Fantasy 7 may be the most requested video game remake of all time, and to reveal too many of its distinguishing features could ruin some of the surprises that await fans returning to the game more than 20 years after its release.